KITCHEN HERB basics: SAGE
Basics on Sage (salvia officinalis)
Part of the mint family, this exceptionally easy-to-grow perennial offers a lingering, slightly spicy aroma that’s warm—and smells like Grandma’s Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s no wonder sage’s fragrance instills a sense of calm, while also adding beauty to the garden. Too, its scent repels harmful pests (including rabbits and deer) from the garden.
It’s about as pleasant a companion as any herb gardener could hope to have.
- Sage can be sowed by seed outdoors, yet many gardeners prefer to purchase year-old plants from a nursery—this way there’s no wait for a harvest; you’ll reap reward the same year.
- Sage is a hardy perennial, but does prefer light shade in very hot weather.
- Water plants during dry periods (but avoid overwatering during other times).
- During the winter months, mulch sage plants.
- Clip fresh leaves any time, and use as needed.
- Sage is one of the few herbs that, even as its leaves grow larger, the flavor intensifies.
- To dry (if you wish), cut stem tips when flower buds begin to form. You can store dried sage leaves in airtight, dark-colored jars for a year.
Good Companions: Broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi
Bad Companions: Cucumber – sage can stunt cucumbers’ growth + affect its flavor
- Sage has a long history of use as a medicinal herb.
- Ancient Romans believed sage helped facilitate memory and quicken the senses.
- Throughout the Mediterranean, sage was associated with immortality.
- In mythology, chewing sage was believed to increase mental capacity.
Sage In The Kitchen:
Sage’s strong flavor means a little goes a long way! Sage pairs well with turkey, pork, beef, chicken, and duck recipes. For those who love Italian cooking, chop fresh sage leaves, then mix with melted butter + stir into gnocchi or pasta. Or, simply fry sage in a frying pan, then crumble over most any dish to heighten flavor. It’s also fabulous in sauces, marinades, and breads.